Jobs : Country Director - Lively Minds Ghana

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Over 250 million children under 5 globally do not get the early childhood care and education (ECCE) they need, leading to poor health, porr education, lost life opportunities and poverty.

Lively Minds is an award-winning NGO tackling this crisis in rural Ghana & Uganda. We believe that one of the main barriers to ECCE is that parents in remote resource-poor villages lack the information, education and aspiration to provide basic and affordable opportunities for their children. We have developed an innovative behavior-change programme that empowers marginalized, poorly educated Mothers to run educational Play Schemes for pre-schoolers and to provide better home-based care, using cheap local resources.  Not only does this result in positive outcomes for child development, but also has positive impacts for the Mothers too.

These are exciting times for Lively Minds. In Ghana we have recently received results from a Randomised Control Trial (RCT) conducted by independent evaluators Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) and Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) which demonstrate the programme has a positive impact on a wide range of child and mother outcomes. The Minister of Education (MOE) has expressed his commitment to support the scaling up for the programme. We are now working with National Government and other stakeholders in developing our 2020-2025 plans to scale the programme across 60 rural districts in the northern regions of the country, reaching approximately 4000 kindergartens.  During this period, Lively Minds will act as technical consultants ensuring Districts embed and sustain the programme.

Elsewhere, our programme in Uganda is in a test and position for scale stage with the long-term aim of national roll- out. Our long-term goal is for the programme to be adopted in several countries in the developing world so that it can have a large impact in tackling the global early childhood development crisis.


Job Description

The Ghana Country Director will lead our Ghana operations and coach our team through the scale up. Initially, the Country Director will have 4 direct reports across 2 offices (Tamale and Bolga) who will line manage the 10-15 field/office staff based in each office. Once we reach  scale, the Country Director will have 8 direct reports -  4 Regional Managers (across 4 regional offices), Training/Start-up Manager, Learning and Quality Manager, and Financial/Administrative Manager, IT/Data Manager, and there will be a number of field and office staff reporting to their respective line managers. The Country Director will be based in the Ghana HQ in Tamale and report directly to the COO and have a secondary line of report to the CEO.

Key responsibilities for the Country Director include strategic and operational planning & implementation, staff management, financial accountability and developing and maintaining strong relations with government, funders, and stakeholders at regional, district and national level. The Country Director will be part of the multi-disciplinary Lively Minds global senior management team- which currently is made up of the CEO, COO, Uganda Country Director, Head of Monitoring & Evaluation, Marketing Communications Manager, Curriculum Coordinator and Training & Development Manager. 






Strategic development

  • Contribute to the global and Ghana scale strategy for Lively Minds.
  • Develop and implement plans to support the achievement of strategic goals
  • Identify and drive forward strategic funding and partnership opportunities.

Implementation accountability

  • Create the annual programme roll-out plan, disseminate and train & support the implementing teams to execute the programme expansion as stipulated in strategic and operational plans according to agree business processes.
  • Co-develop and enforce execution rhythms to ensure that implementation is effective
  • Lead and support direct reports to create detailed plans and risk analyses for themselves and their teams to ensure successful delivery of the programme to achieve desired outputs and outcomes.
  • Oversee implementation to ensure the expected outcomes are met and the programme meets quality standards. 
  • Train Managers and wider team to proactively mitigate against programme risks and respond to unfolding situations in a timely manner.
  • Ensure that the team and stakeholders adopt a results-focused approach, coaching the team to actively manage risks, engage & empower stakeholders, respond to challenges,  identify and implement SMART actions to ensure successful outcomes.
  • Work with other senior management team members to identify ways to improve the programme, curriculum, approaches, systems and practices

Government engagement

  • Co-create strategies for securing government partnership for scale ensuring risks are managed and opportunities leveraged;
  • Lead partnership negotiations with government. This will involve establishing a stakeholder Technical Working Group;  co-developing and negotiating partnership documents including detailed workplans, MOUs, KPIs/milestones; M&E frameworks to establish measurable roles and responsibilities and milestones
  • Develop and implement strategies to use government working group effectively to ensure government stakeholders are fully engaged in tracking progress, solving challenges, identifying opportunities to sustain and integrate programme
  • Hold national, regional and district level partners to account for fulfilling their agreed roles and responsibilities; identifying capacity gaps and solutions
  • Support the team to advocate for ECCE and the LM programme through lobbying and participation in national government department events and working groups.

Leadership, team  and organisational development

  • Establish working norms ensuring Lively Minds’ values and behaviours are embedded in staff behaviour.
  • Actively manage the performance and build the capacity of all staff through training, coaching, holding 1to1s, setting performance goals, appraisals, developing new HR and working policies and practices;
  • Where necessary interview, recruit and train staff and/or contractors
  • Oversee the financial, administrative and organisational management of the offices, ensuring strong accountability and value for money is achieved.

Stakeholders and partnerships

  • Work alongside independent evaluation team to ensure smooth running of evaluation; capture lessons; identify and disseminate policy recommendations; improve programme and delivery
  • Identify new and strengthen existing advocacy partnerships to support ECCE systems change within Ghana
  • Contribute to fundraising proposals and reports (financial and project/narrative)

Required Skills or Experience

To succeed in this role you will need….

  • to be comfortable delivering a complex, busy programme, We will be working at scale (covering 4000 kindergartens within 3 years). You will need to be comfortable managing a large project; relying on and commiting to systems & processes; using data and technology to inform decision-making; ensuring communication/feedback loops are working successfully
  • to have a good risk radar – be able to plan ahead to analyse risks and suggestion solutions to mitigate; to identify risks ahead of time and prevent them harming programme; alerting team members, managers and stakeholders to problems and working proactive to solve them in an open and transparent way
  • to be innovative & results-oriented. We operate in resource-poor settings, with challenging stakeholders and with limited resources. You need to be able to identify where to uphold important principles, and where to compromise and find pragmatic expediencies
  • to manage a remote team with limited supervision. You will need to be out in the field in remote villages to understand the needs and operational realities and to supervise and assess activities as they are implemented. 
  • to be willing to go the extra mile.  We need you to be proactive and constantly seeking ways to do things better.
  • to bring about systems change. We need you to help change norms, find opportunities to sustain and integrate the programme into existing systems, gaining the support of government and key stakeholders whilst maintaining the values of the programme and organisation
  • to be a leader.  You will need to role model professionalism, determination & resilience, a growth mindset, and passion for the work and our organisational values and instill these in the team


  • Minimum of 5 years of project management experience - delivering at scale with demonstrated results managing people, budgets and activities 
  • Experience working with national and local government and demonstrable results of influencing others
  • Experience coaching and training others
  • Ability to manage a complex and varied workload and to work under pressure
  • Experience of budgeting and accounting for projects
  • Excellent communication skills, both oral and written and good typing skills
  • Adept in or able to adapt to and learn new technologies quickly (e.g excel, smartphone apps, slack, Asana, KOBO/data collection, dashboarding, mobile money)
  • Experience of working in rural communities
  • Experience working with international donors and grants
  • Experience or clear understanding of evaluation and working with data
  • Ability to work with a multicultural, international team


  • Experience working on ECD, education programme or women’s empowerment in rural settings
  • Experience of working within government of Ghana
  • Experience of behavior change/change management



How To Apply For This Job

Please send a CV and cover letter detailing how you meet the person specification to: 

by Wednesday, 17 July 2019

Please note that generic cover letters will not be considered.

  • Lively Minds operates a strict Child & Vulnerable Adult Protection Policy and the post-holder will be required to demonstrate their suitability for this role. 
  • Please note that due to resource constraints, we will only respond to shortlisted candidates.
  • Short-listed candidate will be contacted to proceed on next steps in the application process by 26 July 2019, which includes assessment followed by two rounds of interviews.
  • Referees for final candidates will be contacted.

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